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BREAK THE CHAINS

Exodus 1:8-14

Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. 9 He said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. 10 We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.” 11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king. 12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became. 13 So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. 14 They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands. (Exodus 1:8-14)

  • God has always wanted His people to live faith-filled, focused, fulfilling and fruitful lives, and He also wants us to live “free” and victorious lives.
  • “The Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. . . . The Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. They made their lives bitter, forcing them to mix mortar and make bricks and do all the work in the fields. They were ruthless in all their demands. (Exodus 1:11, 14)
  • Sometimes because of other people’s initiatives or their own initiatives, God’s people have lived bondage-filled lives rather than free and victorious lives.
  • Jesus – “Everyone who sins is a slave of sin.” (John 8:34)
  • “I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (Romans 7:21-23)
  • “Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26)
  • What types of bondages do people struggle with in our day, and what we can do to overcome them, or help others overcome those bondages in their lives?

WHAT TYPES OF BONDAGES DO PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITHIN THEIR LIVES?
Some People Struggle With:

  • CHEMICAL BONDAGES IN THEIR LIVES
    • “Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? . . . It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns . . . Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake . . .’” (Proverbs 23:29-35)
    • “19.7 million Americans (12 years+) battled a substance use disorder in 2017, and 1 out of every 8 adults struggled with both alcohol and drug use disorders simultaneously.” (National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
    • “Drug abuse and addiction cost American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs.” (National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
    • People who use illicit drugs are twice as likely to have mental illnesses, and also typically have a lot of emotional, financial and relational struggles.
    • “Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)
    • “Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:10)

Some People Struggle With:

  • EMOTIONAL BONDAGES IN THEIR LIVES
    • “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
  • Many people struggle with Anger, Bitterness, Hurt, Unforgiveness and other similar issues in their lives.
    • “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)
    • “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Hebrews 12:15)
  • Many people struggle with Depression and Despair
    • “19.7% of Americans have struggled with some sort of mental illness, with depression being at the top of list (and 9.7% of teens struggle with severe depression.” (Mental Health America)
    • “The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17 NKJV)
  • Many people struggle with Fear and Worry
    • “Do not be anxious about anything . . . but present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

Some People Struggle With:

  • FINANCIAL BONDAGES IN THEIR LIVES
    • “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed…Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.” (Proverbs 11:24-25, 28)
    • “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7)
    • 75% of Americans are living above their income, 50% have no retirement savings and 35% have zero in regular savings.
    • The average cardholder has $7000 of credit card debt and bankruptcies are an all-time high.
    • People struggle with Financial Bondage because of Buying on Credit, Gambling and other Addictions, Refusing to Work or find a Better Job (1 Timothy 5:8), and Rebelling against God’s Plan for Provision (Proverbs 11:24-25, Malachi 3:8-12).

Some People Struggle With:

  • SEXUAL BONDAGES IN THEIR LIVES
    • “55% of teens in 2017 indicated that they are sexually active.” (National Center for Health Statistics)
    • “25% of all husbands and 15% of all wives have admitted to a physical affair
    • (45% of husbands and 35% of wives have had emotional affairs).” (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy)
    • “60% of first-time married couples and 66% of remarried couples lived together before marriage, but people who “co-habit” are 46% more likely to divorce.” (Pew Research)
    • “40 million Americans regularly visit porn websites, 35% of all internet downloads are porn, 33% of porn users are women, and Sunday is the most popular day of the week for viewing porn.” (The RecoveryVillage.com)
    • Pornography negatively impacts people’s lives mentally, emotionally, financially, relationally, vocationally and spiritually.
    • “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
    • “Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality . . . none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
  • What types of “bondages” do I sometimes struggle with in my life, and how badly do I want to overcome them?

WHAT STEPS CAN WE TAKE TO OVERCOME BONDAGES IN OUR LIVES?
Overcoming Bondages In Our Lives Requires:

  • ACKNOWLEDGING OUR HELPLESSNESS IN REGARDS TO OUR STRUGGLE(S)
    • “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t! I do what I don’t want to – what I hate! I know perfectly well what I’m doing is wrong . . . but I can’t help myself! It is sin inside me that is stronger than I am that makes me do these evil things.” (Romans 7:15-17)

Overcoming Bondages In Our Lives Requires:

  • BELIEVING THE LORD CAN AND WILL HELP US
    • “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God . . .” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
    • “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” (Philippians 2:13)
    • “The Spirit that God gives us . . . fills us with power, love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 GNB)

Overcoming Bondages In Our Lives Requires:

  • CONFESSING OUR SINS AND STRUGGLES TO THE LORD
    • “If we confess our sins to Him, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9)
    • We don’t get forgiveness through begging, bargaining or bribing – but through believing.
    • “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
    • “What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record.” (Psalm 32:1-2)

Overcoming Bondages In Our Lives Requires:

  • DETERMINING TO COMMIT OUR LIFE AND WAYS TO THE LORD
    • “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God . . .” (Romans 6:12-13)
    • We commit our life and ways to the Lord when we take: 1) God’s Son as our Savior for life (John 3:16), 2) God’s Word as our Standard for living (2 Timothy 3:16-17), 3) God’s Will as our Strategy for living (Proverbs 3:5-6), and 4) God’s Power as our Strength for life (Philippians 4:13).
    • “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Overcoming Bondages In Our Lives Requires:

  • EXPRESSING OUR STRUGGLES AND STRONGHOLDS TO OTHERS
    • “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
    • Who do we tell? _______________________________________
    • What do we tell? ______________________________________
    • When do we tell? ______________________________________

Overcoming Bondages In Our Lives Requires:

  • FORGIVING OURSELVES
    • “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
    • “God is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” (Ephesians 1:7)
  • “The Lord said (to Moses), ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey . . . The cry of the Israelites has reached Me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt.’” (Exodus 3:7-10)

 

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NEWS & EVENTS

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FIRST STEPS is the membership course for Celebration Church. This four-week course is designed to help the participant understand his first steps at Celebration Church, all the while setting him up for his next steps of growth and service.

  • Introduces Salvation, Baptism and Christian Growth.
  • History and Vision of Celebration
  • Promotes Worship Service Attendance and Church Involvement
  • Introduces Celebration Statement of Beliefs
  • Launches Participants into Life Group
  • Introduces Celebration Serve Team Categories
  • Launches Participants into Serve Teams
  • Introduces Celebration Church Values and Spiritual Freedom
  • Reviews Membership Expectations
  • Launches Participants towards NEXT STEPS and DISCIPLESHIP PATHWAYS

The FIRST STEPS course takes place on four consecutive weeks

(Lesson One = Week One, Lesson Two = Week Two…). If someone misses a week one month, they can return the following month and make it up. Although people can start at any point, the flow of the course works better if they begin on Week one.

PASTORS ARTICLE

Welcome to Celebration Church – where God is met, Love is felt and Lives are changed. We are so glad to have you join us this weekend as we continue our The God Of The Broken sermon series from the Book of Exodus.

In the early chapters of the Book of Exodus, the people of God were “broken” because of the hardship and heartache they’d experienced in Egypt, much like the hardship and heartache experienced by people in our world in the past 12 months. We’re going to be learning from Exodus 1-4 how to: “Stay Focused in Difficult Times”, “Break Free From Life’s Strongholds”, “Transform Our Children’s Destinies,” Stand Strong In Shaky Times” and much more. Plan to join us every weekend for our In-person or Online services, and invite others to join us as well.

We would also love to have you join us for our Churchwide Serve Day effort on April 24. This coming Saturday morning we will be sending teams from our Celebration Campuses to serve and help people and ministries in a variety of ways. This is going to be a good day to extend “acts of kindness” to hurting and underserved people in the communities around us. To participate in our Serve Day effort on April 24, go to www.celebrationchurch.org/serve.

Next Sunday in our Services we will be: 1) participating in Communion together, and 2) honoring Debbie Pell, our former Executive Director who recently retired after 31 years of ministry on our Church Staff. Plan to join us as we celebrate who the Lord is to us and what He’s done for us, and as we honor this great leader throughout our Church’s history.

At Celebration, we have ministries and programming for virtually everyone. We have ministries for children, preschoolers, teens, college students, singles, couples, senior adults, parents, people needing recovery or counseling, businesspersons and many other groups of people. Our goal is to help people experience God’s transforming power in their lives, so they can be equipped to conquer their challenges, have stronger and healthier relationships, become more purposeful and productive in their lives, and make a positive difference for good and for God in the world around us. Please let us know at webcc.info how we can serve you and others.

If you want to Make A Decision, share some Prayer Requests with us or Give to support God’s work through Celebration Church, there are places for you to do that on this Digital Worship Guide. Thanks for joining us today, and thanks for supporting God’s work through our Church. Lives are being changed, marriages are being reconciled, families are being restored and people are experiencing the healing and transforming power of Jesus as a result of your support of our Church’s ministry through your prayers, service and giving.

Thanks again for choosing to worship with us today. We look forward to having you back with us next weekend.

Dennis Watson

Lead Pastor, Celebration Church

KIDS & TEENS MINISTRIES

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Kidztown Children’s Ministry is all about partnering with parents to disciple the children who attend our church. Our Uptown ministry targets 1st through 4th Grade students, and our Downtown ministry is aimed at Birth to Kindergarten students. Each ministry area is a safe, secure and nurturing educational environment with our leaders and trained volunteers.

The Children’s Ministry of Celebration Church has a three-fold life purpose for every child, which is no different than the purpose for an adult’s life!

We want children to:

• Learn about Jesus
• Live for Jesus
• Let others know about Jesus

Our three-fold life purpose is designed to be experienced by our babies and toddlers just as much as it can be experienced by our elementary students. We want our babies to feel the love of Jesus the minute they come through our doorway.
As songs are sung and stories are read, children will understand that they are special in God’s Kingdom and will begin to open up their hearts and minds to receive the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. Our goal is for every child to become fully devoted followers of Christ, by asking Jesus to be their forever friend!

It is our privilege to partner with parents, grandparents and other significant adults in a child’s life as we embark on this journey together. The precious children that have been entrusted to our loving care are a treasure to us as well. We believe there is no greater call that to make a difference in the life of a child.

Visit our website by clicking the button below to meet our staff or apply to become a volunteer.

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Midpoint is a ministry just for 5th through 7th graders. Because we know that kids at this age are trying to figure out whether they are children or pre-teens, our Midpoint leaders work hard to create a “cool” atmosphere in the context of a very safe and protected environment. Their leaders and pastors teach them an age-appropriate message and then the young people are challenged to talk through how to apply those biblical principles to their lives in small group discussions.

Midpoint meets during all weekend worship services. Students join their parents for the music portion of the service and then are dismissed during the video announcements where leaders take them to their designated ministry area. Midpoint also has periodic outreach events, parties, field trips, games, crafts and other fun experiences centered around 5th through 7th graders.

Visit our website by clicking the button below to meet our staff or apply to become a volunteer.

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The Social Youth Ministry is designed so our teenagers (8th-12th grade) can meet weekly for a fun, exciting, and relevant youth service that focuses on challenging teenagers in their daily lives. This service is planned with the intention of encouraging, motivating, and inspiring young people to overcome the challenges they face in life and to make a difference in the world they live in through Jesus Christ! All of our youth services are relevant to the searching teen, understandable to the new believer, and challenging for the mature believer. Throughout the week youth meet in small groups called Life Groups. Life Groups provide a community experience where teens can share what is happening in their lives and hold each other accountable for following the Bible lessons learned in their weekly Wednesday night service. Visit our website by clicking the button below to meet our staff or apply to become a volunteer.

 

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CHRISTMAS EVE

PASTORS ARTICLE

Dear Celebration Members and Guests,

Welcome to Christmas Eve at Celebration – where God is met, Love is felt and Lives are changed. Our Pastors, Leaders and I pray that you will be encouraged by today’s service.

Christmas is about God’s Son bringing hope and transformation to our world, and at Celebration people from all walks of life are experiencing Lord’s hope, joy and peace. Children and Teens in our Church are growing up to be strong, positive and spiritual individuals. College Students, Single Adults and Couples are learning how to have stronger lives and relationships as they find God’s purpose for their lives. Senior Adults are also finding new purpose as they mentor and minister to the generations that follow them. And many people are finding help, hope and healing for their lives through the ministries of our Church.

Through our Life Group ministry and other ministries, great friendships are being established, people are growing stronger spiritually and relationally, and they are learning how to have a positive influence on the world around them.

We would love for you to join us in upcoming weeks to discover more about God’s purposes and plans for your life, and to learn how you can experience His best in your life. In January we are beginning the TRANSFORMED spiritual growth emphasis. In this special emphasis we’re going to learn how to “transform” our lives, circumstances and relationships so we can become “transformers” of the culture around us.

To benefit fully from TRANSFORMED, our Pastors and I are sharing some critical concepts on upcoming weekends that will help us all prepare to become “transformed.”

  • On December 26-27 we will learn “How God Changes Us.”
  • On December January 2-3 we will learn about “The Five Habits Of Healthy People”
  • On January 9-10 we will learn “How To Have A Great Support System In Our Lives”

In the weeks that follow as we begin TRANSFORMED, we will learn in our Life Groups and In-person and Online Worship Services: 1) How To Set Personal Goals By Faith, 2) How To Get Close To God, 3) How To Move From Stressed To Blessed In Our Lives, 4) How To Change Our Lives By Changing Our Minds, 5) How To Overcome Fears That Ruin Relationships and much more. All of those teachings can be accessed Online as well as in In-person Life Groups and Worship Services. We would love for you to be a part of our TRANSFORMED emphasis.

Also to help people experience the transforming power of the Lord throughout 2021, we’re offering our Journey Through The Bible adventure that begins on January 1. Through daily podcasts and/or written devotions I’m going to be leading our people to read and journey through the entire Bible in 2021 in a way that will help them learn the stories and principles of the Bible and bring transformation to their lives, circumstances and relationships. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in a great adventure through 2021. Sign up today to be a part of the Journey Through The Bible adventure (www.celebrationchurch.org/devotions).

This month, we are still collecting our EVERYONE NEEDS JESUS Christmas/Missions Offering. Our Christmas/Missions Offering goes directly to support Missionaries, Mission Ministries, and Mission Projects locally and around the world. We ask our People to give to this offering above their regular offering as a “Christmas gift to Jesus” to further support His work. You can give to the Everyone Needs Jesus offering today along with your regular offering, or you can give online at www.celebrationchurch.org/christmasoffering.

Thanks again for joining us for our Christmas service. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Thanks for joining us today,

Dennis Watson

Lead Pastor, Celebration Church